Life With Teens - June 2012 - Boston


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From the impact of technology on social skills to dealing with bullying and popularity issues, parents of teens today need to be informed about many issues and opportunities. Our new magazine will help parents navigate these important years by providing insight, expert advice and guidance on a wide variety of topics. Each issue will also contain a valuable directory of local, national, and international programs, services, and other opportunities for teens and their families in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Metro DC, including Northern Virginia and Maryland.

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Life With Teens - June 2012 - Boston

  2. 2. Bloomingdales, Tiffany & Co., Michael Kors, Kiehl’s Since 1851, Ross-Simons, Ann Taylor, Papyrus, CUSP by Neiman Marcus, Sur La Table, Apple and Coming Soon . . . Stuart Weitzman and Soft Surroundings! Mall at Chestnut Hill 199 Boylston Street Chestnut Hill, MA 02467 617.965.3038
  3. 3. First 100 new subscribers receive a FREE TeenLife BOSTON backpack! Reserve FALL 2012 your free IBE SUBSCR W NO mag com/ teenlife. ! IT’S FREE Teens Technology subscription PUBLISHED BY VOL. 1, ISSUE m 2 10 FAVORITE FIND LOOK INSIDE S now. Go to to keep receiving Life with Teens in your mailbox! Plus, you’ll get: 1. Unlimited access to our award-winning website featuring thousands of programs and opportunities for teens. e-Newsletter and popular 2. Our information-packed printed and digital guides. calendar of local events 3. Access to our community and volunteer opportunities for teens.Sign Up Now at
  4. 4. PUBLISHER Marie Schwartz, President & Founder M A R K ETI N G Cara Ferragamo Murray Vice President of Marketing & Communications Camille Heidebrecht Director of Marketing & Managing Editor Mary Hawkins Manager of Search Engine Marketing BOSTON NEWTON MARBLEHEAD ADV E RTI S I N G SA L E S Dina Creiger Director of Sales, Drop-in classes available for ages 16+ Jeanne Kelley Account Executive, Mary Anne MacLean Account Executive, Jacklyn Morris Account Executive, Cindy Tessman Account Executive, O P E R AT I O N S Ellie Boynton, Vice President of Operations Maria Kieslich, Director of Operations Alice Vaught, Jesse Burns, Customer Service CO NT R I B UTI N G W R I TE R S Chad Foster, Lucy Norvell, James Paterson, Diana Simeon, Kimberly Wolf, M.Ed. A RT & PR O DU C T I O N Kathryn Tilton, Designer PUBLISHED BY Life with Teens, Volume I, Issue I, Summer 2012 is a quarterly publication of TeenLife Media, LLC. 1330 Beacon St., Suite 268, Brookline, MA 02446, (617) 277-5120,, LIMIT OF LIABILITY TeenLife Media, LLC (TL) does not verify claims or information appearing in any advertisements contained in this magazine. While advertising copy is reviewed, no endorsement of any product or service offered by any advertisement is intended or implied by publication in Life with Teens. No part of this magazine’s editorial content may be reproduced without written consent by TeenLife. Beyond Ballet – dance your Some content reprinted with permission by Your Teen magazine. way to fitness TL takes no responsibility for the descriptions of the organizations in our Directory. TL is not familiar with all of the organizations listed. We edit the descrip- tions to achieve a consistent format. TL presents all Ballet, Modern, Character, and Pilates descriptions without any warranty of any kind. TL is not responsible for the accuracy of any description, or for mistakes, errors, or omissions of any kind, or for any loss or damage caused by a user’s reliance on the Classes for all levels, absolute beginner through experienced dancer information contained in this publication. Information is subject to change without notice, and readers are advised to confirm all information about an organiza- tion before making any commitments. Trademarks: TeenLife Media, LLC and related trade For more information, call 617.456.6333 or visit dress are trademarks or registered trademarks of TeenLife and/or its affiliates in the United States and may not be used without written permission. Copyright © 2012 by TeenLife Media, LLC Published by TeenLife Media, LLC, Brookline, MA2 LIFE WITH TEENS SUMMER 2012
  5. 5. BOSTON SUMMER 2012 TeenLife.com8 CAREER TRACK: 21st Century Skills for the 21st Century Workplace By Chad Foster11 MONEY SENSE: Financial Wisdom for Teens—Learn Now or Pay Later! By Chad Foster14 27 FEATURE: Helicopter Parenting— Why It’s Not Good for Your Teen By Diana Simeon25 VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT: 14 Does Your Teen Want to Be a Samariteen? By Lesli Amos27 CAMPUS CONNECT: Why Hire an Independent Consultant? An Objective Professional Can Pay Off in Many Ways By Jim Paterson29 HEALTH & WELLNESS: Media Literacy 101—Fortifying Teens’ Media Diets By Kimberly Wolf, M.Ed.31 VIEW POINTS: The Dreaded “D” Word In Every Issue 6 DID YOU KNOW? New ground-breaking stats See page 7. 7 FAVORITE FINDS: Review the latest and greatest 39 43 STAY CONNECTED! DIRECTORY: WHAT’S HAPPENING? Programs and services for Regional events in and families with teens around Boston. SUMMER 2012 LIFE WITH TEENS 3
  6. 6. High  School  Quiz  Show  is  a Major  sponsorship  for  High  School  Quiz  Show  is  provided  by: Additional  funding  is  provided  by:production  of  WGBH  Boston
  7. 7. Welcome to A New Quarterly Magazine For Parents of Teens! You asked for it—and we delivered! Our feature, Helicopter Parenting: Let me know what you think! ThisIn response to interest from TeenLife Why It’s Not Good for Your Teen on page magazine is for you—comments andmembers and parents of teens—like you— 14, resonated with me right away. I think feedback are always welcome. And pleasewe recognized that you not only need, but we have all been guilty of micromanaging pass it along to other parents you knowwant, more information and guidance to our teens. with teens!navigate the issues affecting teens today. On page 31, we look at parent, teen, Happy Reading,As you know, these can be formidable and expert perspectives on divorce andyears—and we want to be right by Kimberly Wolf, M.Ed. evaluates teenyour side! media literacy on page 29. In addition, Life with Teens aims to inspire par- we offer ways your child can manage theirents to be better parents, and teens to be money (page 11) and apply “21st Centurybetter teens. We also aspire to help your Skills” to their lives (page 8).budding college student prepare for life In each issue, you’ll also find a Marie Schwartz, President & Founder,beyond high school. To think about finan- Volunteer Spotlight (page 25), a Listings TeenLife Media, LLC mschwartz@teenlife.comcial security, work/life skills, the value of Directory of teen-friendly programs andgiving back, and more. resources (page 39), and Local Events You’ll find our editorial is timely (page 43) to add to your calendar. P.S. Spread the word! Connect withand offers valuable advice.Thanks to We hope you enjoy your first issue TeenLife on Facebook and Twitterthe team at Your Teen magazine for of Life with Teens. To keep receiving (@teenlifemedia). Invite family, friends,providing some of the content in our your free subscription, sign up at and coworkers to subscribe to Life withinaugural issue. Teens at Discover The Landmark Advantage: One-to-One. Every Day. Landmark School knows that for young people with a language-based learning disability, like dyslexia, school can be frustrating and overwhelming. For our students, grades 2 - 12, school is about experiencing a personalized academic program with one-to-one tutoring every day, building skills to make learning productive and meaningful, playing sports, exploring visual arts, woodworking, theater…and experiencing confidence for the first time ever. Come visit. We’re just 25 miles north of Boston. Landmark School1:1 Prides Crossing, Massachusetts • 978.236.3000 every day SUMMER 2012 LIFE WITH TEENS 5
  8. 8. DID YOU KNOW? OVER A LIFETIME, INDIVIDUALS WITH A BACHELOR’S DEGREE MAKE 84% MORE MONEY THAN THOSE WITH ONLY A HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA. The Georgetown University Center on Education and The Workforce Working couples talk to one another an average of only 12 minutes a day. NYU Child Study Center BY 2015, THE MILLENNIAL 1 in 3 teens sends more than GENERATION WILL MAKE 100 text messages UP ONE-THIRD OF THE a day, or ELECTORATE. 3,000 texts a month. Young Democrats of America 2010 The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project6 LIFE WITH TEENS SUMMER 2012
  9. 9. FAVORITE FINDS of teenagers say they hide their online activity from their parents. LIGHTEN YOUR LOAD! McAfee 2010 With a unique technology support system, the Airbak Campus Backpack combines extensive back cushion- ing with a special inflatable pillow for WARNI N G FO R PA R E N TS : additional padding. Its technology support system magically reduces the weight of a student’s heavy load.Boozy Bears www.airbak.comGummy CandySoaked in AlcoholBy Dr. Thomas Tallman, Director,Emergency Preparedness & Disaster GOMedicine at Cleveland Clinic. RETRO! YUBZ providesThere are teenagers who Obviously, if you are seeing today’s parents andsearch for an undetectable gummy candies suddenly appear teens with a safe,mind-altering experience. or disappear and alcohol is miss- functional, and chicSome have found a new ing, you may have cause to worry. Retro Handset that isway to get an alcohol buzz However, if you are waiting for effective in reducingwithout arousing suspicion— telltale signs, you will miss your exposure to radiomarinating gummy bear opportunity. Don’t wait for grades frequency wavescandy in vodka. The candy to slip and don’t ignore altered caused by cellabsorbs the vodka and be- moods. Sit down and ask your phones. They havecomes an alcohol snack. Teens kids whether they are seeing this plenty of fun colorseat them in order to keep a behavior among their peers. Tell and new funkymild buzz going throughout your kids that eating alcohol-laden designs too!the day with the thought of candy promotes alcohol addiction. www.yubz.comavoiding detection. But the Have a frank discussion and hopeteen, believing the fallacy that for an honest reply. You may findvodka is odorless and unde- an underlying reason for a desiredtectable, is not fooling anyone. “altered mood.”Some content reprinted with permission from Your Teen magazine. SUMMER 2012 LIFE WITH TEENS 7
  10. 10. CAREER TRACK Century  Skills FOR THE 21ST CENTURY WORKPLACE ST BY CH AD FOST ER BY C H AD FO ST ERToday’s teens will spend at least 16 yearsToday’s teens will spend at least 16 years Networking Skills—Future Networking Skills—Futureand almost 20,000 hours in classroomsand almost 20,000 hours in classrooms teen employees will need to master teen employees will need to masterbefore heading out into the real world.before heading out into the real world.So, how can a parent be sure that thisSo, how can a parent be sure that this the skills of meeting and effectively the skills of meeting and effectively communicating with a lot of people, communicating with a lot of people, 12 TIPS for Teens Preparing for Teens Preparinglengthy journey provides their teenslengthy journey provides their teens getting to know those people, and getting to know those people, andwith the necessary tools needed to suc-with the necessary tools needed to suc- then staying in touch with those then staying in touch with those for the Real World for the Real Worldceed? The question is fair, and deservesceed? The question is fair, and deserves people—maybe even hundreds of people—maybe even hundreds of 1. Find your passion 1. Find your passionserious consideration. Education aloneserious consideration. Education alone new contacts. In actuality, teens are new contacts. In actuality, teens are and follow it. and follow it.probably isn’t the answer. But the addi-probably isn’t the answer. But the addi- all quite familiar with the concept all quite familiar with the concept 2. Ask a million 2.tion of summer jobs, community servicetion of summer jobs, community service of “keeping in touch” with a large of “keeping in touch” with a large questions., educational programs, and evenwork, educational programs, and even community of people via social net- community of people via social net- 3. Read everything 3.internships can help fill in the gaps. Eachinternships can help fill in the gaps. Each working, so the transition to a pro- working, so the transition to a pro- you can. you can.of these experiences will teach teens theof these experiences will teach teens the fessional application should be fairly fessional application should be fairly 4. Meet all kinds of 4.vital 21st Century skills necessary tovital 21st Century skills necessary to smooth. Keep in mind however, smooth. Keep in mind however, people. people.prepare and succeed in work. So, whatprepare and succeed in work. So, what that teens must be reminded that all that teens must be reminded that allare these skills?are these skills? of the technology in the world will of the technology in the world will 5. Fill your address 5. not change the age old premise that not change the age old premise that book. book.Communication Skills—TeensCommunication Skills—Teens “people make people successful.” “people make people successful.” 6. Stay in touch with 6.must develop the ability to talk to peoplemust develop the ability to talk to people Who you know will always be just Who you know will always be just everyone. everyone.from all walks of life. “Don’t talk tofrom all walks of life. “Don’t talk to as important as what you know. as important as what you know. 7. Always do the right 7. Always do the rightstrangers” makes great sense until agestrangers” makes great sense until age thing. thing.11 or 12. After that, the ability to hold a11 or 12. After that, the ability to hold a People Skills—In a practi- People Skills—In a practi- 8. Volunteer for 8.conversation is vital. Questioning skillsconversation is vital. Questioning skills cal sense, the ability to get along cal sense, the ability to get along community service. community service.and listening skills are both critical toand listening skills are both critical to with others will benefit teens in all with others will benefit teens in all 9. Discover your natural 9.this process, which need not be compli-this process, which need not be compli- aspects of their lives—at home, in aspects of their lives—at home, in talents. talents.cated. Whether personally or profession-cated. Whether personally or profession- the classroom, and in the work- the classroom, and in the work- 10. Try a few jobs before 10. Try a few jobs beforeally, teens should be reminded to askally, teens should be reminded to ask place. However, statistics show place. However, statistics show and during college. and during college.simple questions; listen to answers andsimple questions; listen to answers and that people skills in the workplace that people skills in the workplaceincorporate them into their next ques-incorporate them into their next ques- are often the toughest to master. A are often the toughest to master. A 11. Pursue your dreams. 11. Pursue your dreams.tions; and focus questions on jobs,tions; and focus questions on jobs, whopping 70% of people who quit whopping 70% of people who quit 12. Remember: mastery 12. Remember: masteryfamilies, and hobbies. A teen that isfamilies, and hobbies. A teen that is or lose their jobs do so because they or lose their jobs do so because they of vital 21st Century of vital st“interesting” is great. A teen that is“interesting” is great. A teen that is can’t get along with their bosses can’t get along with their bosses skills leads to suc- skills leads success.“interested” is even better.“interested” is even better. or coworkers. This is clearly one or coworkers. This is clearly one cess.88 LIFE WITH TEENS SUMMER 2012 LIFE WITH TEENS SUMMER 2012
  11. 11. skill that is best not learned “on Give yourthe job.” Success will depend on ateen’s ability to compromise and teen theto resolve conflict—coupled withunderstanding the dangers of burn-ing bridges along the way. confidenceTolerance—Three-year-olds they need.from diverse backgrounds playtogether peacefully on playgroundsacross America. They do so be- Academic Life Coaching Ten one-on-one sessions tailored tocause they have yet to embrace the the individual student. Increase academic confidence and reducepoison of intolerance. Socially, anxiety. Build personal confidence and self-awareness. Improveintolerance is distasteful, but pro- communications, relationships and leadership skills; for school, for life,fessionally intolerance can be fatal. for your child.Employees don’t have the luxuryof choosing their coworkers, their Gina Halstedbosses, and/or their customers. Academic Life CoachTeens who expect to survive and gina@ALCteen.comsucceed in the global economy to-day absolutely need to learn how to www.ALCteen.comlive with, work with, and socializewith people from all walks of life.So, how can you as a parent help?Intolerance—a learned behavior— ArtsBridgecan be unlearned with the help ofparents who recognize the dangersof this behavior and the futurechallenges that it presents. INTENSE COLLEGE ADVISINGChoices/Consequences— IN THE PERFORMING ARTSThere is no magic wand whenit comes to helping teens alwaysmake the right choices, but theycan be reminded to weigh data,think about risk, and consider theconsequences of their choices. Thekey is for teens to develop pro-cesses and strategies that enablethem to sharpen their foresight.“If I only knew then what I knownow,” a comment often heard,reminds us that hindsight is always20/20. Teens must understand thatthere is a dangerous correlationbetween making minor bad choicesnow and making major bad choiceslater. It is also critical for them to Educational Consultantsrealize that just one destructive specializing in the Performing Artsdecision can easily destroy thebest laid plans and highest hopes. // SUMMER 2012 LIFE WITH TEENS 9
  12. 12. Conversely, making positive “right” decisions can help them achieve their life-long dreams. Time Management—Organi- zational and time utilization skills are two of the most vital common denominators of highly successful people. The ability to multi-task is paramount to a successful educa- tional, as well as workplace experi- ence. Simply put, teens who cannot effectively manage their time and organize their daily schedules are certain to struggle. Every teen must have a system. Whether that system is implemented with an electronic gadget or an old fash- ioned manual process is irrelevant. If the system works, then it is the right system. Hint: the ability to say “no” can go a long way in the game of time management! Business Literacy—In today’s world of entrepreneurial busi- nesses and start-up companies, the vast majority of today’s teens will not work for large corporations. Smaller companies will employ most—and the preparation is quite different from the preparation for a job in generations past. These companies typically do not have the time or resources to train basic workplace skills or teach the newly employed about the particular in- dustry landscape. Employees who take initiative, deal with challenges, overcome obstacles, and solve problems starting in their teen years will have a distinct advantage over the rest. Business literacy is probably the difference between failure and success. There is ample time for teens to master the 21st Century skills vital to workplace and life achievement if they start now. They must get involved, communicate, network, organize, make calculated deci- sions, appreciate others, and learn business. LWT10 LIFE WITH TEENS SUMMER 2012
  13. 13. SENSE FINANCIAL WISDOM FOR TEENS Learn Now or Pay Later! What teens need to do now in order to become financially literate young adults. BY C HAD FO ST ER very parent wants their teen And it can go even further. What to walk into the real world they are probably not thinking about is fully prepared to make wise how influential these jobs can be on their financial decisions. But, for eventual career path. I like to remind par- most parents, teaching their ents and teens that the process of careerchildren how to do this is not—at all— exploration, preparation, and selectioneasy. So, here’s some practical advice, cannot start too early.mixed with a little bit of financial wisdom, As parents, encourage your teenthat you can share with your teen about to get summer jobs in various differentmaking, managing, and multiplying their types of work and intern (hopefully paid)hard-earned money. during breaks. Not only will they be earning their own money, but they will1. MAKING MONEY—How will your also be exploring what they like to do.teen get his or her money? Simply put, A love for animals is not enough tothey can earn it, marry it, inherit it, or become a vet, but combining a love forsteal it! Since marrying money is unlikely, animals with substantial time workinginheriting money can take forever, and in a vet’s office may lead a teen tostealing money is illegal, the truth of the that very career.matter is that the vast majority of today’steens will have to do it the old-fashionedway. Earn it. Of course, your child—and many of “Youngthe teens you might know—are probablyearning money by babysitting, mowing savers usuallylawns, working in retail, or cashiering at end up as oldthe local supermarket, which are all excel- savers.”lent ways in which young adults can makemoney. Obviously earning their ownmoney not only gives them some cash intheir pockets, but it also teaches them somuch more. They begin to learn the corre-lation between working hard and gettingpaid for their efforts. And they can learnabout supply and demand: after babysit-ting for a few families, they might realizehow many families need childcare help—and thus an enterprising teen might seizeon the chance to earn even more money. SUMMER 2012 LIFE WITH TEENS 11
  14. 14. 2. MANAGING MONEY—So, what happens when the cash starts to flow in? Will your teen spend it all? Save some of it? Give some away? Hopefully, the answer will be no, yes, yes. Yes, you are reading it correctly, I replied no, yes, yes. In passing my financial wisdom on to you, I honestly believe that successful money man- agement can only take place if “the list” is in the right order. Give, Save, Spend. Let me explain. Giving. Granted, “giving” is not always an easy concept to sell to the average teen that has worked hard for his or her paycheck. But then again, who wants to have an average 10 teen? Teens should be encouraged to give—this reminds teens at an 30 simply will not be as effective as early age that no matter who they starting the saving process as a teen. are or what they have, there is always The secret to saving is time. someone less fortunate. I like to put Spending seems to come quite it this way: whether you are 16 or 60, naturally to most teens. After all, why and whether you give away $10 or work hard to earn that pile of money Ten Tips for Teens $10,000, there are three things I can if you can’t turn around and spend on the Road to some of it? The desire to spend for promise you. most teens is quite normal. But it Financial Freedom 1. It always feels good to give. is imperative that teens have a clear 2. It helps others when you give. understanding of how much money 1. Work part-time as a they’re bringing in, and thus how teenager. 3. Giving is the right thing to do. much they can allow themselves to 2. Give to those less Teens who start giving at an spend, both on things they need and fortunate than you. early age typically become adults who things they want. continue the practice of giving later As parents, intervene a bit; ask 3. Learn to save money at in life. your kids before shopping if they an early age. Saving. Saving is important, and actually need what they plan to it must become a habit. Habits, good buy—or just want what they plan to 4. Understand the and bad alike, are hard to break. For buy. Again, they will probably spend difference between this reason, young savers usually end a little on both, but a clear problem needs and wants. up as older savers, which is critical arises when teens start spending 5. Develop good spending to the process of wise money man- money they don’t have on things they habits before you have agement. While still highly recom- don’t need. When that line is crossed, big bucks. mended, starting to save at age 25 or a small piece of plastic has obviously 6. Pursue a career you enjoy. 7. Figure out how to make COLLEGE money while you sleep. PRESIDENTS TELL US 8. Pay off all credit cards THAT THEY every month. LOSE MORE STUDENTS 9. Protect what you own TO CREDIT with insurance.of college students carry credit year-olds that have CARD DEBT card debt, with more than half declared bankruptcy THAN TO 10. Recognize the need toof those students charging their has increased 96% ACADEMIC live within your means. cards to the limit. over the past 10 years. FAILURE. 12 LIFE WITH TEENS SUMMER 2012
  15. 15. worked its way into the process. Be aware, credit card compa- EarthConnect: A Costa Rican Adventurenies target teens, too. And creditcard debt, as anyone knows, cancause long-term financial ruin. In Summer Programfact, colleges today report that theylose more students to credit carddebt than to academic failure.3. MULTIPLYING MONEY—Teens who explore rewarding for Teens ‘‘careers for themselves and learnto effectively manage the money Story after story came…they earn are well on their way tofinancial success. Only the abil- Spy hopping with theity to multiply their money stands dolphins, kayaking inbetween them and their future,and complete financial freedom. mangroves, meetingAs a wise man in West Texas once locals and traveling byshared with an eager, ambitiousteenage entrepreneur, “Until you bus. What became clearlearn how to make money while to me was how muchyou sleep, you will never really getahead in the financial process.” Sam enjoyed being with Teens who learn how to make authentic people from amoney while they sleep, unearnedmoney, are the real winners. The foreign culture. When Isooner teens are introduced to the asked him “Was it whatprocess of investing, and the earlierthey are taught to understand the you thought it wouldpower of unearned income, the be?” His response wasbetter off they will be in the longrun. No matter how the market “Better, by far!” Heperforms, a safe, long-term stock was proud of the workwill be more profitable the earlieryour teen invests. he accomplished and all Once again, time is a determin- that he learned. He goting factor in the process. Adultsand teens alike must understand, more out of the program than I could have ’’however, that investing is a skill,which must be learned and prac-ticed in order to improve over time. possibly expected. Is there a sure-fire formula that —EarthConnect 2011 Parentworks for every teen learning aboutmoney? Not a chance. But is itpossible to send teens into the realworld financially literate? You bet. Chill ExpeditionsAs parents, encourage them to earntheir own money; to really think Costa Rican Adventures Experiential Learning Adventures Since 1995about their career path; to give,save, and spend in the right order; 800.551.7887 Toll Freeand to multiply their money even requests@costaricanadventures.comwhile they sleep. Teach financialwisdom now or consequently they www.costaricanadventures.comwill pay later! LWT SUMMER 2012 LIFE WITH TEENS 13
  16. 16. PARENTING Why It’s Not Good for Your TeenHaven’t we all had a helicopter moment?Perhaps it was a note to a teacherprotesting a grade, or a call to a coachinsisting our teenager gets to play innext week’s game. Maybe it washelping too much with an Englishpaper or wrangling an invitationto a party. Whatever the reason,we stepped in and did for ourteenager what they could—and probably should—havehandled on their own. by Diana SimeonReprinted with permission from Your Teen magazine.14 LIFE WITH TEENS SUMMER 2012
  17. 17. SUMMER 2012 LIFE WITH TEENS 15
  18. 18. CCASIONAL MOMENTS LIKE THESE ARE PART OF BEING A PARENT. WE LOVE OUR TEENAGERS AND WANT THE BEST FOR THEM. BUT WHEN INTERVENTION HAPPENS TOO OFTEN, AND WE FIND OURSELVES HANDLING LIFE’S CHALLENGES FOR OUR TEENAGERS WEEK AFTER WEEK— OR DAY AFTER DAY—THEN WE MAY BE HURTING MORE THAN HELPING. IN ORDER FOR OUR TEENAGERS TO GROW INTO SUCCESSFUL ADULTS, THEY MUST LEARN TO HANDLE CHALLENGES ON THEIR OWN. THIS DOESN’T MEAN THAT WE LET OUR TEENAGERS GO THEIR OWN WAY NO MATTER WHAT THEY’RE UP AGAINST, BUT IT DOES MEAN THAT, MORE OFTEN THAN NOT, WE MUST LET THEM TAKE THE LEAD. And when our radar detects trouble, we act. In fact, how many of us would get into the college we“Some parents hope to rescue their teenagers from getting attended? The current economic climate doesn’t help mat-a bad grade or from a social situation or from any of the ters; even attending a prestigious college doesn’t guaranteepitfalls that can happen in life, believing perhaps that it a job upon graduation for our teens.will be too difficult for their teen to handle,” explains Amy Then, there are our worries over driving and drugsSpeidel, a Cleveland-area parenting coach. and alcohol and sex and everything else that can go “We have a pessimistic attitude toward our kids wrong—sometimes drastically so—in their lives. And, asthat says they cannot do anything safely or successfully if all of this weren’t enough, chances are we’re also actingwithout our help,” adds New York City-based syndicated out of guilt.columnist Lenore Skenazy, author of Free-Range Kids: “We feel guilty because it’s so much harder for ourHow to Raise Safe Self-Reliant Children without Going Nuts teenagers today or because we’re asking them to do sowith Worry. much or because we’re divorced or we work too much or So why do we do it? What’s changed from the hands- whatever,” Gilboa parenting style of past generations to the enmeshedstyle so frequently found today? Why do we think that ourteenagers can’t handle what we handled at their age? Well, Wait, Should We Really Land thisaccording to the experts, there are several factors at play. Helicopter? First, foremost and most obvious, we love our teen- So, if the world has changed, if it’s that much harderagers. “We believe that no one has our teenager’s best for our teenagers, isn’t the appropriate response to be moreinterests at heart. That’s not self-aggrandizing. That’s enmeshed with them? Absolutely not, the experts say.truly love,” says Deborah Gilboa, MD, a.k.a. Dr. G, a “We can almost describe it like this,” Speidel says. “ItPittsburgh-area physician. “And as they move into is as if parents are attempting to help their teens developadolescence, we’re also still in the habit of taking care an internal guidance system, but never allow the teen toof all their needs.” experience the learning as their own. For instance, years Anxiety for our teenagers’ future is another reason. ago, if you were 12 years old and nobody picked you up at“There is an apt recognition that the world is a more the end of an activity, you had to figure it out. Now, teenscompetitive place now,” notes Dr. Lisa Damour, a clinical don’t do that; they just make a call.”psychologist at Laurel School in Shaker Heights, Ohio. Yet, it’s this figuring out of day-to-day problems“And that this generation will have to work harder to be that teenagers need to grow successfully into adulthood,as successful as their parents.” Speidel notes. “By giving children the answers, parents No doubt. Take getting into college, particularly a are actually creating a foreman-on-the-job response intop-ranked college. It’s just much harder to do these days. their child that says, ‘I don’t have to bank this knowledge16 LIFE WITH TEENS SUMMER 2012
  19. 19. because you will have the answer adults who lack confidence, and per-for me.’” haps even the competence, to success- In other words, when teenag- fully make their way in the world.ers deal with a challenge, they learn Meanwhile, our relationship withhow to deal with a challenge. When our teenagers is also at risk when wethey, and not their parents, talk to the helicopter. “There may be kids whocoach about playing in next week’s find this totally inappropriate andsoccer game or to the teacher about humiliating,” Damour says. “It putsa poor grade, then the next time a them in the position of being angry TIGER PARENTING:similar situation arises, they will have with someone who is acting on their The Flip Side of the Coin?built the skills to do so. behalf.” Meaning you. But, when a parent swoops in Thanks to Amy Chua’s bestselling Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother,and takes charge, these skills won’tdevelop. Coming in for a Landing we now have yet another parenting moniker at our disposal: tiger mom. “It can feel like a vote of no confi- Former New York Times and nowdence. The parent is, in effect, telling Huffington Post columnist Lisa Belkin Tiger mom—or tiger parent—meansthe teenager: ‘I don’t think you can said it all when she wrote: “Our own a parent who pushes her children tohandle this, so I am going to handle it quirks look, to us, like concern or excel, at times using strategies thatfor you,’” Damour says. prudence or love. It’s everyone ELSE may seem excessive to the rest of us. Then, there’s the tendency of who hovers.” While it’s most often seen withmany enmeshed parents to rescue Isn’t it true? It’s easy to “tsk, tsk” academics, it also happens in musictheir teenagers from the consequences about instances of extreme helicopter- or sports or debate or dance or mostof their actions. For example, the ing—like the parent of the Colgate any competitive activity in which aparent who calls to complain about University student who called the tiger parent decides, “My child willa grade her teenager “deserved” is school to complain about the plumb- be the best.”not helping her teenager at all. Why ing conditions in China, where her At Life with Teens we wondered: Arestudy next time if Mom or Dad can daughter was spending a semes- tiger parents the same as helicopterfix it for you? ter—but when it comes to our own parents? They are, after all, very in- teenagers, determining how much is volved with their children’s lives. So, too much is not easy. we asked our experts to weigh in. “I think parents feel frustrated“When your teenager by this. They wonder: ‘So, I’m just “I would say those are mostly different dynamics,” explains Lisa supposed to let them sink or swim?’”comes to you with Speidel says. “It’s the balance that’s Damour, a clinical psychologist at Laurel School in Shaker Heights,a problem, instead so important. Are you giving them Ohio. “You can have super- steps along the way to become thatof providing a confident adult that you clearly want demanding parents that expect a kid to manage, but the helicoptersolution, just listen— them to become? They are not going parent does not think their kid to become competent just because can manage.”and be curious.” they reach a certain age. They become What’s more, tiger parents want that confident adult because they have their children to experience hard “Consequences give our brain those experiences leading up to that, knocks, says Harvard-affiliatedinformation that says: This worked which tell them, ‘You are capable sociologist Hilary Levey Friedman,well; I want to do it again. Or: This of this.’” author of the forthcoming Playing todidn’t work at all for me; I want to Win: Raising Children in a Competi-avoid that or try something different. Here are some strategies tive Culture. “Competitive parentsThe brain actually wires itself around to get you started: recognize that no matter how great you are, you are going to face ad-these experiences,” Speidel notes. versity at some point in your life. If What’s at stake? A lot. If parents Listen (a lot) more than you you learn how to deal with that at adon’t allow teenagers to take charge suggest. When your teenager younger age, and in a safer environ-of their lives—and experience the comes to you with a problem, instead ment, that’s a good thing.”positive and negative consequences of providing a solution, just listen—of their actions—they will grow into and be curious. “So, for instance, if Reprinted with permission from Your Teen magazine. SUMMER 2012 LIFE WITH TEENS 17
  20. 20. ADVICE FROM OUR EXPERT Why do we helicopter? Because we love our teenagers and, at times, we’re afraid for them. But, says Deborah Gilboa, MD, a.k.a. Dr. G, a Pittsburgh-area physician who also dispenses parenting advice on HuffPost Parents and Twitter, we need to get over that. Letting our teenagers stumble is just what they need.What do you think of the term “helicopter parent?” Okay, so say my teenager never gets up on timeI prefer to say “enmeshed parent.” It is honest, but not for school?as condemning. I would say, “Your ride to school leaves at this time. But I’m not going to yell anymore, because it ruins my day.”What are we doing when we’re enmeshed with our If they miss the bus, they miss the bus. However, you andteenagers? your teen must agree on the consequences if school isWe’re not building resilience. Our goal is to raise our missed. By high school, you can wait for the school to giveteenagers so they can leave us; we’re important, but consequences, but be cautious about inserting yourselftemporary. When we don’t teach our teenagers to man- between the child and the consequences. Your teenagerage problems on their own, they don’t learn resilience. may get an unexcused absence; they may have to take aAnd, if we don’t teach resilience, then we rob them of the grade hit. But, high school is a much better time to under-self-esteem that comes from learning that they are resil- stand the cost of consequences rather than in college orient, that they can solve their own problems and make at a job. I would also recommend you give your teenagertheir way in life on their own. three pieces of paper: three no-questions-asked rides to school. This can help you and your teenager ease intoSo what’s the alternative? the program.Be engaged, but not enmeshed. Listen much more thanyou give advice. I read this great article years ago where A big project is due, but my teenager is doing athe writer described how her dad responded when she terrible job. What now?came to him with a problem. He would say, “Wow, that’s When it comes to a younger teenager, I encourage par-a tough fix. I’ll be interested to see what you do about ents to think of themselves as a project manager, but notit.” And he was not being patronizing. He was saying, “I’ll an employee. You can talk to your child about timelinesbe interested to see how you solve this problem. I have and resources, but don’t do the work for them. Doingfaith in you, and I want to hear how it goes.” Listen, listen, these projects is not really about, say, learning all thelisten, so you can be engaged, but bite your tongue. Offer names of the planets in the solar system. They’re aboutadvice only a fraction of the time, even though you have learning how to manage timelines, manage frustration,the perfect piece of advice. Because the message when etc.—all the tools we need to become competent don’t offer advice is that you have faith that your And, if you do the project for them—and especially if theyteenager has some good ideas about how to fix this get a good grade—they are not going to feel good aboutproblem on his or her own. it. So, yes, let them fail if necessary. You are saying: “This is your work.” And, you let them see that one grade is not aEven if they mess up? reflection of who they are and that they have what it takesThe biggest gift we can give our teenagers is NOT to fail and recover. For an older teenager, do much less.protecting them from consequences. If your teenager is They should handle most of this on their own. Again, letgoing to get benched because of a C in math, you should them experience the consequences of their actions.not argue with the coach or the principal or the mathteacher; you should say, “How are you going to improve What about the teenager who is not handing inyour grade?” If we protect them from consequences when homework day-to-day?they are teenagers—and don’t teach them resilience— This could suggest that your teenager has an organiza-they will be shocked and betrayed by the real world. tional problem. But it could also be something else, likeWe are not doing them a good service. That’s the danger anxiety or social pressures. I always tell my patients thatof being enmeshed with our kids. We’re setting up false if they see a dramatic change in their child, that is not aexpectations for how they will be treated in every aspect time to be hands-off. So, if you see a dramatic change inof their lives. grades or their friends, then in a very non-accusatory way, sit down with your teenager and say, “You need some-That’s hard to do for enmeshed parents. thing you are not getting. There is a missing link for you,Yes, it’s hard but not impossible. It is very difficult to and we need to figure it out.” Promise yourself that youchange how you feel, but how you feel is not as important will not try to fix it in that first conversation, just be empa-as what you do. Parents can change their actions without thetic and listen. Walk away and sit with it for a few hours,changing their feelings. Change your goal from raising a then go back and say, “I’ve been thinking about what youteenager who is protected to raising one who is resilient. said.” Then, you can start a conversation about next steps. For more advice from Dr. G or to ask a follow-up question, visit her website at or tweet her @AskDocG. Reprinted with permission from Your Teen magazine.18 LIFE WITH TEENS SUMMER 2012
  21. 21. your daughter comes home and says, suggests. But, coaching your teenager where to start. So, here’s an idea.‘A friend is having a party, and I on what to do with language like, “Next time your blades are spinning,wasn’t invited,’ the tendency might “Here’s how to handle this,” is not ask yourself: ‘What’s the worst thatbe to say, ‘Well, are you having appropriate. could happen in this scenario?’” saystrouble with your friend? Did you do Speidel. “And, if the answer is thatsomething? Do you want me to call Start with low stakes—and your teenager ‘could be hurt, but ither mom?’ In other words, ‘How do don’t rescue your teenager seems as if they will recover,’ thenyou want me to interfere?’” explains from the consequences. allow the possibility of hurt, knowingSpeidel. “Instead, the first thing you Teaching our teenagers to fend for they can recover and do it differentlyshould do is become curious about themselves means allowing them to the next time. Every time you allowhow your child is experiencing this make their own choices and experi- your child to have a disappointmentsituation and ask, ‘I’m wondering how ence the consequences of those choic- and recover, what you’re saying is:you feel about this?’ It’s important for es. For an enmeshed parent, it can ‘You are strong. You can handle this.your child to know that the feeling is be gut-wrenching to watch teenagers And, we’ve got your back.’”hers to own, not for you to fix.” stumble, perhaps even fall, which is When our teenagers were tod- exactly what they’ve been trying to dlers, just learning to walk, we wereBe a coach. Asking questions is prevent with their hovering. happy to let them teeter, totter, andalso appropriate when it comes to Mobile, Alabama, father of three, tumble because we understood thatsupporting your teenagers through Tilmon Brown, knows this all to well. this is how children learn to walk—problems. “Parents should do a lot of “My daughter is a lost puppy. So I and eventually run. Our teenag-thoughtful coaching. For example, if have to decide: Do I let her flounder ers are not so different: They willyour teenager is having trouble with and make a mess of her life or do I wobble; they will trip; they will mosta teacher, you could ask, ‘Would it get involved and help her succeed?” certainly fall. But, if we let them dobe helpful to email your instructor?’ For those of us, like Brown, who it enough, they will also fly. LWTor ‘What’s the appropriate verbiage?’ struggle day in and day out with Reprinted with permission from Your Teen magazine.or ‘What are your goals?’” Damour being enmeshed, it’s hard to know TOP We polled our staff, readers, experts, friends, and family to bring you a TOP 13 of moments when our helicopter blades were whirling. While some may make you giggle or gasp, others may sound, well, uncomfortably familiar—proof positive of how difficult this can all be. The bottom line: if these moments are the rule in your home, and not the exception, it may be time to take a deep breath, review the tips from our experts and come in for a landing.1. Recently, I emailed about 100 adults to ask them to 8. My son had to return a book to his college’s bookstore. be mindful of their behavior during an upcoming There was a problem, so while he was standing in the store, meeting that my high schooler was also attending. he called me on his cell phone, and I talked to the manager.2. I called my daughter’s college to complain about 9. I require my teenager to take a picture on her phone and the food. text it to me, so that I know she really is where she says she is.3. I called my son’s school because he missed the deadline to return a form that would allow him to 10. I check online daily to make sure my daughter’s grades participate in an extracurricular activity. are acceptable.4. I can’t help myself. I attend my daughter’s rehears- 11. I went to my son’s school and held his spot in line to make als, take notes and then review with her the areas sure he got into an activity he wanted to sign up for. that I think need improvement. 12. I drive my daughter to school 2 – 3 days a week because5. I filled out my son’s applications for a summer job, she can’t get to the bus stop on time. and I called to schedule the interview. 13. And here’s one from the headlines. A house shared by6. I filled out my daughter’s college applications and seven Boston University students was going up in flames. helped her write the essay. Instead of dialing 911, one of the students called his parents, who in turn alerted the University’s police department.7. I called my daughter’s boss to ask for a better Reprinted with permission from Your Teen magazine. work schedule. SUMMER 2012 LIFE WITH TEENS 19
  22. 22. Get started atKnowHow2GO.orgYou’ve got what it takes.
  23. 23. COUNTDOWN-TO-COLLEGE for Juniors and Seniors s you enter your final two years of high school and start Presented by thinking about college, don’t stress. We have created this detailed checklist to keep your college application process moving along smoothly and on track. JUNIOR YEAR Thinking about college starts in your junior year. FALL WINTER SPRING SUMMER Take a challenging course load and all of the Begin researching colleges. Look into summer jobs, Request catalogs and admission classes you need to graduate. Look at websites, search internships, summer camps, information from your top-choice sites, online campus tours, and other career-inspiring schools if you haven’t already. Log on to to register student reviews, and programs that will boost If you took the SAT/ACT for the your resume. Take a free practice test Attend college fairs in your to improve your scores, then Register for the PSAT in October. for the ACT and SAT to see area. It’s a great way to take a summer prep course which test you perform collect brochures and meet with The Princeton Review. Compete for the National Merit Scholarship better on. College Reps one-on-one. ( If practical, visit and tour the Sign up for a prep class Sign up for a prep course rest of the schools on your list. Use and The Princeton if you are taking the early so that you are ready for the Brainstorm and outline a few Review’s book, The Best 376 Colleges, to spring exams. Go to May/June exams. essay ideas. begin your initial college search. Register to take the SAT Schedule an appointment with Talk to your counselor and consider an or ACT. your counselor or independent for you. assessment test to explore potential Take the appropriate Subject consultant to discuss your careers you might like. Investigate scholarship and Tests (if needed) and AP college plans. Tests. The Princeton Review Create a binder to keep all of Get involved in the community, school Make a list of colleges offers courses for both. activities, and clubs. Track your volunteer hours your information and application that you might like to visit Visit the schools on your list. forms organized and neat. and add these experiences to your applications. and prepare questions for Explore the campus, its fa- Start your applications before Work on improving your vocabulary — upcoming tours. cilities, and what makes each the stresses of senior year kick it will help you on the SAT! particular college unique. into full gear.PULL OUT AND HANG ON YOUR WALL TURN FOR MORE
  24. 24. SENIOR YEAR It’s your last year of school! Now’s the time to complete your college quest. SEPTEMBER APRIL Decide which colleges to apply to. Include schools that you believe will accept you, as well as some “reach” schools. If you are added to a waiting list, notify the college or university if Contact The Princeton Review to discuss the College Admissions you are still interested, and ask them if there’s anything you can Consulting program. do to better your chances of being accepted. Work on completing your college applications. Find out if your target colleges accept the Common Application or form and deposit. You’ll be off to college in the fall! Universal College Application, which can be submitted online. so they can offer Decide if you will apply for early decision to your top-choice schools. enrollment to other students. Start the framework for your college essays. Participate in a Princeton Review Financial Aid Seminar. Ask teachers, counselors, or employers to write recommendation letters. MAY Take any AP exams that you’ve registered for and make sure your scores are sent to your college. OCTOBER Write and send thank-you notes to all involved in the college Take the SAT/ACT. process including your counselor, teachers, and those who’ve written you personal recommendations. Let them know where Continue completing your applications. Submit early decisions. you will be going to school! Fine-tune your college essays. Have them proofread for content and grammar. Double check on any deadlines and last-minute paperwork necessary to attend your college of choice. Plan to attend a summer orientation at your college. NOVEMBER/DECEMBER Submit your completed college applications and essays. JUNE Check to see if your recommendation letters have been mailed. . Search for scholarship opportunities. Complete any last minute paperwork required for your school. Obtain a copy of FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) for your parents or guardians. Plan your transition and exciting move to campus. Look for early decision acceptance letters from schools. Graduate high school!
  25. 25. JANUARYFile for the FAFSA as soon as you can after January 1.Make sure that the colleges you applied to in December have receivedyour completed application.Ask your counselor to send your mid-year grades to the colleges oruniversities that require them. if youhaven’t submitted it yet.Check the policies on the College Level Examination Program (CLEP) testsat the schools you may attend. These tests can earn you college creditsin certain subjects. FEBRUARYIf you haven’t done so already, submit your FAFSA.Deadline is February 15th.If you have submitted a FAFSA and you have not received yourStudent Aid Report (SAR) within a month, speak to your counseloror contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center directly.and any initial required documents. MARCHIf you are taking any Advanced Placement courses, ask yourteacher or counselor how to prepare and when to take theAP exams.Continue searching for scholarships that will help reduceyour tuition expenses. NOW... OFF TO COLLEGE!Keep an eye out for admission decisions from colleges —and any additional information schools may request. TURN FOR MORE
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  27. 27. VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT Does Your Teen Want to Be a Samariteen? BY L ESLI AM O S “It provides a space for callers to able lessons she will take from Samari- have direct and honest communication teens are summed up in two quotes. with someone their age who will respect One is, “To the world, you may be one and listen to what they’ve been going person—but to one person, you may be through,” continues Baum. the world.” The other is the Samaritans’ There is no better way to understand tagline: “You are not alone!” the impact of Samariteens than by meet- The most rewarding part of the Sa- ing one of the 64 active teen volunteers. mariteens experience varies by volunteer, Jess Kruger (16), a junior at Fram- but Baum maintains that volunteers are ingham High who handles several making real differences in callers’ lives. 3:00–9:00 p.m. shifts per week, offers a “Our teen volunteers speak with Jess Kruger, teen perspective. As a teen who person- individuals who are experiencing some junior at ally conquered her own struggles with very difficult situations. That said, it’s an Framingham mental illness, Kruger believes she “was incredibly meaningful experience where High School meant to be a Samariteen.” teens are directly providing help to those Kruger explains, “Obviously each who are in great need,” adds Baum. he teen years can be extremely dif- caller’s situation is different; we are Samaritans has other volunteer op-ficult with pressures from school, home, trained to intently listen, not to offer portunities as well. Teens can participatefriends, and media, along with rapid advice. But it is an incredible feeling to in events like the 5K Walk/Run to raisebiological changes. For many, it is often be on the other end of the phone when awareness about suicide and prevention,too much to bear. In these dire circum- someone really needs me.” or the annual Make Noise to Save a Lifestances, parents and teens are extremely Being a Samariteen offers benefits fundraiser.fortunate to have organizations like on both ends of the phone line. Follow- For teens who believe in the powerSamaritans ( with up calls from teens formerly in crisis of caring for others, who want real worlda mission to help reduce teen suicide: a reassure that the program works—and experience in the mental or public healthvery real—and serious—problem today. that meaningful peer relationships are fields and the opportunity to make an In a recent interview with Nate imperative to recovery. On the listening immediate difference, the Samaritans’Baum, the Youth Services Manager of end, Kruger notes that her interpersonal Samariteens program is an ideal fit.the Samaritans’ Samariteens Program, and active listening skills have flourished Samariteens accepts volunteers agesI was reminded that suicide is the third as well as her own self-worth. “I am a 15 - 19, and requires a nine-month com-leading cause of death for people ages 15 more patient and understanding person. mitment for the helpline. Teens can signto 24. Although I had heard that statistic I may even explore the field of psychol- up online at, it has only now truly resonated. ogy down the line,” remarks Kruger. teer, or call (617) 536-2460 for Boston or Along with extensive community Kruger explains that the most valu- (508) 872-1780 for Framingham. LWTeducation and outreach to help youngpeople who are depressed or suicidal, thecore of the Samariteens Program is the“teen to teen” helpline: (800) 252-TEENand the IMHear instant messaging pro- “TO THE WORLD,gram, which allow teens to confide their YOU MAY BE ONEfeelings to a peer. PERSON—BUT TO Baum explains, “Our helpline volun-teers use a technique called ‘befriending’ ONE PERSON, YOUas a way to actively listen and offer sup- MAY BE THE WORLD.”port for callers, without giving advice or Samariteens answering calls for the helpline.passing judgment.” SUMMER 2012 LIFE WITH TEENS 25
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  29. 29. CONNECTWhy Hire an talented athlete joins the football team at a prominent Ivy League. A “late-to-bloom” graduate attends a major liberal arts schoolIndependent by means of community college first. A budding diplomat finds the perfect academic curriculum at a university in D.C. And a student with learning Consultant? challenges moves from discouragement to a college that meets specific needs. Apart from being successes, all of these high school students have one other thing in common: they each hired an independent educational consultant (IEC) toAn objective professional can match them with the perfect school—a college that was exactly what they were looking for. pay off in many ways So, what does an IEC exactly do that parents, college-bound teens, and sometimes time-constrained school counselors can’t or don’t? Mark Sklarow, executive director of the Indepen- dent Educational Consultants Association (IECA, www., the nation’s leading professional organi- B Y J IM P A T ER SO N zation for independent educational consultants working in private practice, says, “there are a variety of ways SUMMER 2012 LIFE WITH TEENS 27